Westmoreland high school notebook: Shakeup for football schedules

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Sunday, February 27, 2022 | 5:57 PM


Schedules for the 2022 WPIAL football season came out last week, giving some teams in new classifications, and their fans, a glimpse of what lies ahead.

Norwin and Hempfield will be new to Class 5A and play in a conference with Franklin Regional, Gateway, returning WPIAL and PIAA champion Penn-Trafford and Plum. Norwin will play Upper St. Clair in Week Zero and faces Penn Hills, Fox Chapel, Woodland Hills and Class 6A North Allegheny outside of conference play.

Hempfield plays at Greensburg Salem in Week Zero and plays Connellsville, Shaler, Seneca Valley and Latrobe out of conference.

Penn-Trafford’s nonconference opponents include McKeesport, Woodland Hills, Belle Vernon and North Allegheny. The Warriors open against Canon-McMillan in Week Zero.

Belle Vernon dropped to Class 3A and isn’t backing down from anyone. The Leopards will play nonconference games against quite a lineup of 4A and 5A teams as it takes on returning playoff teams Laurel Highlands, McKeesport, Penn-Trafford and Thomas Jefferson, all in a row, to start the season.

The WPIAL surveyed schools, asking which teams they would like to play and which they’d like to avoid. The league listened, appeasing most schools when it came to travel and rivalry games.

Class 6A has onlyfive teams.

Yacamelli a finalist

Cade Yacamelli of Penn-Trafford is up for Mr. PA Football in the big-school division (4A-6A) after a dynamic senior season that saw him lead the Warriors to WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A championships.

He joins five other finalists for the award, whose winner will be announced next month. Online voting for the awards end Tuesday.

Yacamelli, a Wisconsin commit, rushed for 1,866 yards and 24 touchdowns while also leading the team in receiving with 21 catches for 351 yards and five scores.

Penn-Trafford won 11 straight games en route to the titles.

Hockey playoffs

The PIHL playoffs begin March 7.

Local qualifiers include Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford in Class 2A and Norwin in Class A.

The league semifinals are to start March 14 with the Penguins Cup finals March 21-22.

The state championship will be March 26, the all-star games April 3 at Alpha Ice Complex.

Dynasty game

Franklin Regional first-year boys basketball coach Jesse Reed and his assistant, Mike Simmons, made practice fun this season for the Panthers.

Reed, a former pro who starred at American University and Greensburg Central Catholic, and Simmons, who was a standout at Saint Vincent and Kiski Area, introduced the team to a shooting game called “Dynasty.”

“It’s a two-man shooting game where you are competing against another team of two to make it around the 3-point line and back,” Reed said. “We had odd numbers so coach Mike and I teamed up and joined. There was a lot of trash talking and teams wanting a piece of us. The competition was great. They quickly learned that even though Mike and I are old and retired, we still got it.”

Recruiting

Ligonier Valley senior Haley Stormer committed to play volleyball at Saint Vincent.

Stormer had 582 kills, 160 digs, 48 assists, 143 blocks and 313 service points as a four-year starter for the Rams. She was a two-time All-WPIAL selection.

• Nick Beitel, another Ligonier Valley senior, will continue his football career at Washington & Jefferson. Beitel, a four-year starter at defensive back, also made an impact at running back for the Rams. He rushed for 873 yards and scored nine touchdowns last season.

Beitel’s brother, Zach, is a junior defensive back at W&J.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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